FERC on Thursday granted the developers of a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Calcasieu Parish, LA, a five-year extension to build export facilities and place them in-service as the project moves toward a final investment decision.

Joint venture partners Energy Transfer LP and Shell US LNG now have more time to execute their 240 acre-expansion plans at Lake Charles LNG, a former import terminal. The new export facility would include three liquefaction trains with a combined capacity of 16.45 million metric tons per year, or about 2.19 Bcf/d.

ET initially partnered with BG Group plc, which was acquired by Royal Dutch Shell plc three years ago. In August, the companies asked FERC for a five-year extension to complete the export project, citing the “complex international merger” that required the renegotiation of agreements.

If the project is sanctioned, subsidiaries of ET and Shell each would own 50% of Lake Charles LNG Export Co. LLC and each could subscribe for one-half of the capacity. Under the original project approved by FERC in 2015, BG subsidiaries were to subscribe for 100% of capacity, while ET would have full ownership.

The project also received approval in 2013 from the Department of Energy to export LNG worldwide. The companies are still targeting an FID next year. 

The partners also announced this week that a commercial tender package has been issued to engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors to submit final bids for Lake Charles LNG. Those bids, ET and Shell said, are expected to be received in 2Q2020.

The tender expands on another issued to contractors in May that focused on front-end engineering. The latest invitation offers a chance for EPC firms to develop a complete commercial bid for the lump sum turnkey contract for design, engineering, commissioning and start-up of the export facilities. A fully developed execution plan and completion schedule are also required.

“This is an important step in the continued development of this LNG project with Shell,” said Energy Transfer LNG President Tom Mason. “This project capitalizes on repurposing existing brownfield regas assets to achieve cost savings in the construction of the liquefaction facility.”

Mason added that Lake Charles would also benefit from ET’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure, which he said would have “extensive connectivity” to the facility.

Ahead of the FID, Shell is acting as project lead, while ET is serving as the site manager and project coordinator. If sanctioned, Shell would manage construction and operate the facility.

More than $300 million has been spent on EPC work to date, with another $150 million still to be spent before an FID is reached, ET said earlier this year.